What: Partridgeberries are native to North America and grow wild in Eastern Canada and the United States. Although they're also commonly called lingonberries, partridgeberries belong to a different family than the lingonberries used in Scandinavian cooking. The supertart, deep red berries are similar to cranberries, but are smaller and have an earthy flavour, which makes them great companions to savoury dishes.
When: Generally available in October
How: Bacalao restaurant in St. John's, which specializes in modern Newfoundland cuisine, pairs partridgeberries with caribou, chicken and cheese. Co-owner Andrea Maunder offers suggestions on how to prepare them:
Partridgeberry chutney: Take two cups of berries, either fresh or frozen. Add about a cup of sugar and half a cup of vinegar. Mix in one shallot, a clove of garlic and one small onion, all finely chopped. Add about half a teaspoon each of cinnamon, allspice and mustard powder, plus a little ground coriander. Salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until it reaches the consistency of jam, and pack into jars.
"They have a lot of pectin in them, the way that cranberries do, so it thickens up on its own," she says. This chutney works especially well with caribou and poultry.
Partridgeberry and brie phyllo cigars: Using the partridge chutney above, try these simple starters.
"You can make them up in advance, put them in the freezer, and when you have a dinner party or unexpected company, you can just pop them in the oven, and you're ready to go in minute," Ms. Mauder says.
Take one sheet of phyllo pastry. Laying it horizontally across a cutting board, cut it vertically into three strips. Brush with melted butter and apply about two teaspoons of brie cheese (Camembert, goat cheese or any soft cheese will work, too) and about a teaspoon of cooled partridgeberry chutney at one end of each strip. Roll into a cigar shape, tucking in the edges, and finish with a little butter to seal them. Freeze or bake for about 12 to 15 minutes in a preheated 350 F oven. Make sure you line the baking sheet with parchment paper to avoid cheese sticking to the pan.